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Crews Still Unsure of Cause in Chemical Plant Explosion

Crews Still Unsure of Cause in Chemical Plant Explosion

Posted - Nov. 23, 2004 at 4:31 p.m.



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Alex Cabrero ReportingCrews are still cleaning up at the Thatcher Chemical plant where last night's explosion caused a big mess. We'd like to tell you what's next for the chemical plant with this spill, but they're not talking.

Fire investigators were out there for most of the day trying to figure out what went wrong. So far, they don't have an exact cause.

You probably heard the explosion if you live anywhere in the area. A 10,000 gallon tank blew its lid, causing all that liquid to spill onto the floor. Within seconds sodium thio-carbonate, a chemical used in mining, was everywhere. Fortunately though, this liquid is a base and it didn't mix with an acid, otherwise it could've been a real big mess.

There was acid nearby, though, and that's why firefighters got to work so fast. They were there within three minutes, getting it under control.

Scott Freiteg, Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: “It’s difficult to understand what happened because this isn’t a flammable product. Something malfunctioned in the pumping system, or maybe in the air system.”

There could've also been a pressure issue, maybe something sparked somewhere, or maybe even the chemical was mixed with another chemical nobody knew about. All of that is being looked into.

One worker was treated for some minor problems, but he is okay now.

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